In Truckee, Calif., a few car owners have woken up to find themselves the victim of a wild vandal.
In four separate incidents over the past few weeks, bears have broken into cars and ended up locking themselves in. According to Sgt. John Mon Pere of the Truckee Police Department, less snow has led to a depleted food supply this year, making the bears more daring in their search for something to eat.
“Bears can manipulate car handles if the cars are left unlocked,” he said.
“After the bears go in, they may pull the door on themselves — that makes them stressed and causes them to thrash around, which can cause quite a bit of damage inside.”
So far, no bear or car owner has been injured. In one case, a car owner was able to free the bear. In another, the police had to break open the window so that the bear could escape into the woods.
The Truckee Police Department has warned residents to keep their car doors locked and not to leave food in their cars. Many said these break-ins were an inevitable result of living near the wilderness.
“We’re invading their space, we’re kind of pinching them in a little bit,” said Dave Baker of the Truckee Bear League. ”Also, kids are leaving food in the car, and when the bears smell it, they go for it,”